Today, after an over 45-year association with the University of Guelph, I’m retiring from the University. I first came to Guelph as a student in 1972, returning in 1979 as a newly minted librarian. After some years away at the Health Sciences Library at McMaster and the University of Waterloo Library, I came back in 1995 as the Chief Librarian and finally to be Guelph’s Chief Information Officer in 2004.

I was interviewed recently by Emily Jones, Manager of Communications in the Library. In that interview I tried to sum up what it meant for me to work at Guelph. Let me try again.

The daily demands of a job come and go. After a while, months turn into years and years into decades. At what seems a blink of an eye, you’ve spent most of your life at a place.

From one perspective, you could say that you have given a lot of time and energy to the job and to the organization. And while that may be true, that’s not how I feel about it. What I have received back from Guelph is infinitely more that I have been able to contribute. Guelph has been a gift to me.

I’ve always told staff who move on to another job, that they can go elsewhere but they will never leave Guelph. Guelph will always be with them, not as a nostalgic memory of times gone by, but as a symbol for a set of principles and values that are meaningful: Guelph as a true caring community.

“Retiring” is such a strange word to say. It hardly seems appropriate. As many will know, I’m really just moving on to a new challenge: continuing my PhD work at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University.

I’ve said “thank you” to people so many times over the past few weeks as my tenure at Guelph comes to an end, it must seem insincere to some. Let me assure you it isn’t.

We do all sort of “stuff” in our jobs: projects, implementations, planning, budgeting, fire-fighting, crisis management, on and on. However, what you remember, what matters, are the people you worked with, learned with, relied on, supported, and grew with. So, once again, with all sincerity, thank you.


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